Ahead of the upcoming 2022 Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national spokesperson Sambit Patra shared two sets of images – before and after 2017 (UP elections) – to compare the state of schools in the state.
While one photo-collage which claims to be before 2017 when the Samajwadi Party (SP) was in power shows schools in a neglected condition, the other collage, after 2017 when the BJP government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came to power, shows students in what seems like a workshop on astronomy.
However, we found that three images in the first collage (before 2017 during SP rule) were from Adityanath's rule. All the schools were from different districts of UP that showed schools shut down or flooded.
The photo was shared by Sambit Patra on 4 January with the caption in Hindi that read, "फर्क साफ है!"
(Translation: The difference is clear.)
The archive link of his Facebook post can be seen here. It has 144 shares and over 5,000 likes at the time of writing this article.
The photo was also shared along with the same claim by other verified handles on Twitter such as BJP Delhi spokesperson Naveen Kumar Jindal (here), BJP’s vice-president for Madhya Pradesh Jitu Jirati (here) as well as Uttar Pradesh's Tarbganj Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Prem Narayan Pandey (here).
WHAT WE FOUND
We found that three images in the collage of 'before 2017' are from the time of CM Adityanath's rule. Let's take a look at the images one-by-one.
We conducted a Google reverse image search on the photo and this led us to an article on the website of Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala published on 7 January 2021.
We found the photo in that article and the caption, originally in Hindi, translated to 'in Jaffarpur village, one school building in a neglected state'.
We also inspected the page source of the article and found that it was published and modified on the same date - 7 January 2021.
In this photo, we could see one date and time stamp on it which read '8 August 2018, 10:25'.
We conducted a Google reverse image search and found the story on the website of a Uttar-Pradesh based news portal named 'Uttar Pradesh.org'.
The article in Hindi titled 'चित्रकूट: प्राथमिक विद्यालय में भरा पानी, बच्चो सहित शिक्षकों को हो रही मुश्किलें' (Translation: Chitrakoot: Floodwater inside primary school, kids and teachers are facing difficulties) was published in 2018.
A Google reverse image serach result led us to a news website named 'Newsaddaa' which had published the report on 17 December 2020.
The report read that in Sukrauli in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, schools were locked as teachers were not present, adding that the Block Education Officer (BEO) had warned absentee teachers of deducting their salaries.
In the other set of three images with the title 'after 2017 during Yogi's government', we found the images in a Twitter thread of one user named Aryan Mishra and his bio read that he is an 'amateur astronomer'.
In the post from 30 December 2021, he wrote that the science lab was set in a government school in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh.
Speaking to The Quint, Aryan Mishra, co-founder of Delhi-based start-up Spark Astronomy said that the science lab is in Bulandshahr and their company has set up 100 such labs in the district, adding that he is not affiliated to any political party.
He also shared with us a YouTube video that showed the science labs in the Bulandshahr district.
We also found an article in The Print from 2019 that had featured Mishra and his start-up venture Spark Astronomy.
Evidently, BJP's Sambit Patra shared images of CM Adityanath's tenure to falsely claim that is shows the neglected condition of schools when SP was in power.